In Alien Contact for a Christmas Nutcracker, Holly Jansen is an American hired to conduct The Nutcracker ballet in a performance for and by alien humans from an alternate Earth. When she meets sexy Rafe Sekwa, the head of the dancers, he’s in the middle of a rehearsal.
“If I am brusque,” he said, “it is because I am bound in slavery to the past. If you wish, you may watch our rehearsal, as long as you say nothing.”
“Just one question before you begin. What recording are you using? I’ll need a copy.”
The dancers would rehearse to recorded music and get used to the recording’s tempos; any other speed might throw them off, either subtly or disastrously. Holly would sit with the recording and a metronome to time how fast each piece was played. Then she’d listen to the recording over and over until the speeds became part of her heart’s rhythm.
Rafe understood none of this, because he regarded her with open astonishment, as though she’d asked if he breathed water. He held a finger to his lips. “Remember. Say nothing.”
“But I need –”
He touched his index finger to her lips. “Nothing.”
The touch made her eyes go wide. Not just because such forwardness by a stranger was unheard of in the States, at least in front of witnesses, but also because of the electricity that leaped between them. He kept his finger there until any protest she might’ve made was thoroughly smothered then removed it with tantalizing slowness.
Or maybe — and this could’ve been wishful thinking — maybe he’d felt the same zing and wanted to prolong the contact. She should’ve looked at his face instead of concentrating on his touch. That way she might’ve know whether he’d been affected too, or whether this would be a case of unrequited interest, as his interest in Lissette seemed to be.
She watched as he stalked gracefully toward his dancers but looked away quickly when he caught her staring. He smiled.
Within seconds after the bass drum started booming, she realized the dance troupe wasn’t rehearsing The Nutcracker. Or any other ballet, for that matter.
Alien Contact for a Christmas Nutcracker
The Nutcracker ballet . . . for and by aliens?
Holly Jansen, a young orchestra conductor down on her luck, is secretly hired by an alien king to conduct The Nutcracker on Kwadra Island as a Christmas present for his American wife. This big break seems like a Christmas miracle. But after she meets the lead dancer, she wonders if it’s a curse, instead . . .
. . . because the queen has secretly ordered Rafe Sekwa, dancer extraordinaire, to produce a potlatch ceremony honoring her husband’s ancestors — on the same day, time, and stage as The Nutcracker. The stubborn genius is determined to do so no matter what. Soon Holly finds her ambition melting in the face of her growing admiration — and love.